PUTNEY—Next Stage Arts Project and Twilight Music present an evening with folksinger, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, storyteller, activist, and author John McCutcheon at Next Stage on Friday, Sept. 13, at 7:30 p.m.
Folk icon Pete Seeger once called McCutcheon “not only one of the best musicians in the USA ... he is committed to helping hard-working people everywhere to organize and push this world in a better direction.”
McCutcheon is a master of a dozen different traditional instruments, most notably the rare and beautiful hammer dulcimer. His songwriting has been hailed by critics and singers around the globe. His 30 recordings have garnered every imaginable honor including seven Grammy nominations.
He has produced more than 20 albums of other artists, from traditional fiddlers to contemporary singer-songwriters to educational and documentary works. His books and instructional materials have introduced budding players to the joys of their own musicality.
And his commitment to grassroots political organizations has put him on the front lines of many of the issues important to communities and workers.
Even before graduating summa cum laude from Minnesota’s St. Johns University, McCutcheon — a Wisconsin native — literally headed for the hills, forgoing a college lecture hall for the classroom of the eastern Kentucky coal camps, union halls, country churches, and square dance halls.
His apprenticeship to many of the legendary figures of Appalachian music imbedded a love of not only homemade music, but a sense of community and rootedness. The result is music, whether traditional or from his huge catalog of original songs, with the profound mark of place, family, and strength. It also created a storytelling style that has been compared to Will Rogers and Garrison Keillor.
In the past few years alone, McCutcheon has headlined more than a dozen different festivals in North America, toured Australia for the sixth time, toured Chile in support of a women’s health initiative, appeared in a Woody Guthrie tribute concert in New York City, served as president of the fastest-growing local in the musicians union, and given symphony pops concerts across America and special concerts at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and the National Baseball Hall of Fame.